Merchant service providers
Independent sales organisations (ISOs), merchant account providers or merchant service providers – different terms, same thing. These are providers that sell acquiring and card processing to merchants. In the past, acquiring banks were responsible for signing up new merchants themselves, but this job has in part shifted to merchant service providers who are better able to offer packaged solutions to merchants.
There are many of these in the UK. Our list focuses on key ISOs, classed together according to which acquirers they have partnerships with. As they are generally not that transparent, some of them may have more partnerships than what we are aware of. Again, choosing one is not simple, but if you look at acquirers above and pick one that looks ideal, you could look at the ISOs with a relationship to that acquirer.
The merchant service provider will offer prices determined in part by the fees they negotiate with the acquirer. They will also provide card machines and sometimes POS software. If you already have the POS system, you can go for one that just provides card machines.
Contracts are made directly with the ISO, so beware of the fine print (e.g. termination fees, contract length) before you go ahead with a deal, and do look around before settling on one provider.